The Gnome & Raven Escape Room was our first experience planning a birthday party outside the home. In the past, we have had a spy party, a glow-in-the-dark party, Olympic games party – you name it! – and we probably had it. But I have to admit, the thought of escaping from the hours of planning was exciting for me as our lives have grown busier. Another challenge was finding an activity that is appealing to my 12-year-old son who is not quite ready to give up his annual gathering of friends, fun, treats, and gifts.
The ornate red and black storefront in Stony Point Fashion Park intrigued me enough to do a quick web search to find out more. I was thrilled to discover an activity that was mysterious, challenging, and appropriate for a range of ages. Thankfully, it didn’t take a lot of coaxing to talk the birthday boy into Gnome and Raven.
For us, not only was this our first birthday party outside the home, but it was also our first escape room experience. And I have to add that it was the easiest party I have planned to date. The basic party package can be booked as little as two days in advance or up to two weeks, depending on the package. We gathered ten to twelve friends (the maximum allowed depends on the experience selected), had them fill out online waivers, arrived fifteen minutes early, and the Gnome & Raven staff did the rest. The hardest part was deciding which experience we wanted to do: The Wizard’s Castle, The Museum, Shipwrecked, or The Tomb Ruins.
My son went with The Tomb Ruins experience, and our group of ten kids, ranging in age from eleven to fourteen, and two adults were greeted by and led into a dimly lit hallway by an energetic, Australian-accented archeologist who would be our guide and clue giver for the next hour. She dropped us off in a tent like room strung with soft lighting, adorned our heads with head lamps, and left us to solve the mystery.
The kids jumped right in as if they each knew exactly what to do. They worked together on what seemed to be the first of several puzzles and eventually spread out to search for clues, operate in tandem, and beat the clock. They had one hour to solve the mystery of the missing ruby and return it to the pharaoh’s tomb. The four darkly lit rooms with sandy floors, intricate locks, stone walls, moving parts, traps, ancient puzzles, and snake encounters felt like an Indiana Jones movie set.
So with two out of the three clues used and fourteen minutes to spare, the kids successfully completed the challenge with smiles on their faces, stories that lasted long after the escape room ended, and plans to return for another experience. The theme, clues, set, and host in character were top notch. From start to finish, the Gnome & Raven staff were professional, fun, and went above and beyond to meet our needs.
Not only did our kids have a fabulous time, but they had the opportunity to use their imagination, collaborate with their friends, use their problem-solving skills, and know when to ask for help. From a parenting perspective, that’s a whole lot of life lesson rolled up into one fun-filled party.
For details about entertainment and party options, go here.
Review provided by Kim Tschantre